John Oliver interviews Edward Snowden on ‘Last Week Tonight’

There are some things in which we never quite expected to see on a late-night TV show, including one that is presented with as many hard-hitting investigations as “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is. An interview with Edward Snowden is right up there on the list.

Yet, this is precisely what we had on the new episode airing on HBO last night. In a surprise moment, Oliver revealed that he had flown out to Moscow over the course of the past week while the show was on hiatus to interview the controversial man who famously had a part in revealing many NSA secrets. His story is a complicated one, but one of the biggest points that Oliver makes as a whole here is that despite his myriad of contributions to the world of national security as we know it, very few people actually know who he is. The montage of “average New York citizens,” a move played out over the course of many late-night institutions, proves that even further.

The interview between Oliver and Snowden was in many ways strange (Edward was significantly late to it beginning), but also funny and fascinating. One of the brilliant things that Oliver did over the course of the entire interview was use an analogy of national security secrets to pictures of a man’s “junk.” Why? The one thing that the average New Yorker could agree on was that they did not want the government looking at certain parts of their anatomy, and were surprised to know that this could be happening.

Therefore, Oliver used the junk “topic” to have Snowden explain the various measure that the NSA can go through in order to obtain and view information. It is one of the simplest ways in which parts of the Patriot Act have been discussed, and while it only scratches the surface of the topic, it may be far more impactful than serious news organisations will give it credit for.

What we will say here ultimately is that: Oliver really needs to win an Emmy for this show. What else can he do?

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